Now this is cool. For me, the best part of researching the Great War is the individual stories, the personal suffering and heroism, the privatethoughts of the normal man-in-the-street-turned-soldier. So, i was very pleased to see that the Royal Surrey Regimental Museum have digitised and posted diaries from some of their soldiers/officers.
One of the most famous acts of the war involved the 8th (Football) Btn, East Surrey Regiment…
On the first day of the Battle of the Somme, B Company of the 8th Battalion went into the attack dribbling four footballs which the Company Commander, Captain Neville had bought for his platoons to be kicked across No Man’s Land. Captain Nevill and many of his men were killed during the advance, but the 8th Surreys were one of the few battalions to reach and hold their objective on this day. The ‘Football Attack’ caught the imagination of the country, and illustrations of it are shown in the Regimental Museum, which also contains one of the footballs used.
On that day, the 8th Battalion alone won two DSOs, two MCs, two DCMs and nine MMs, but 147 officers and men were killed and 279 wounded.
Read the diary description this very special event right here, courtesy of the museum.